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Looking at sciences, U.S. is by far the leader

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And the Nobel Prize for the Most Innovators Goes to…

Looking at sciences, U.S. is by far the leader

We are pleased to announce that innovation is alive and well in the U.S.

Indeed, if Nobel Prizes are any indication — and they seem to be a pretty good indicator — the U.S. is the most innovative country in the world, hands down.

The New York Times ran a story looking at Nobel Laureates in medicine. According to the Times, “In the last 10 years, for instance, 12 Nobel Prizes in medicine have gone to American-born scientists working in the United States, 3 have gone to foreign-born scientists working in the United States, and just 7 have gone to researchers working outside the country.”

Pretty impressive, we’d say.

Moreover, of the “six most important medical innovations of the last 25 years,” four of them “were developed in American hospitals or by American companies,” and one other was “improved” in the U.S. The Times goes on to say, “Even when the initial research is done overseas, the American system leads in converting new ideas into workable commercial technologies.”

That got us to thinking, how does the U.S. fare in some of the other scientific fields?

Apparently, even better.

  • Of the 14 winners of the Nobel Prize in economics since 2000 (some years had multiple winners), 12 were listed with a U.S. affiliation (a few included a second country, such as Israel).
  • Of the 20 winners of the Nobel Prize in physics since 2000, 14 had a U.S. affiliation.
  • Finally, of the 18 Nobel Prize winning chemists, 11 identified with the U.S.

Looking at the sciences (including economics), the U.S. is by far the leader. No other country even comes close.

Of course, many of the top scientists are trained in the U.S. But others move here after graduating to pursue their careers because of the country’s deep commitment to innovation.

For all the (often-justified) complaints about the American education system, when it comes to creating and supporting world-class innovators, we must be doing something right.

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Written By

Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas, Texas. Follow him on Twitter: @MerrillMatthews.

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